Here are two stories, one dealing with legislative actions on the state level (bottom), and the second that deals with options that can save you money now. For instance, several UNC-Chapel Hill graduates introduced RAM Book & Supply, a private bookstore that launched a popular rental program earlier this year for introductory classes. A Georgia Tech alum created bookant.com, where students at various universities can sell books to each other, while a Northwestern University student created NUOnlineBooks.com two years ago to allow students to compare textbook prices. (Stateline.org) College students across the country are experiencing sticker shock at their bookstores. At the University of Maryland, a new Understanding Business book sells for $139. At the University of North Carolina, Tar Heels could shell out $153.35 for Principles of Economics. And at the University of Wisconsin, Chemistry and Chemical Reactivity goes for $109.90 – used. But relief may be on the way as states and university officials move to lower the cost of college textbooks by taking aim at some publisher and faculty practices blamed for raising prices. This year – when students at four-year public universities spent an average of $942 on books and supplies, the College Board reported – there were 86 bills in 27 states that dealt with textbook affordability, according to the National Association of College Stores (NACS). Some of the bills proposed direct relief through sales-tax exemptions or credits and deductions, but the seven states that enacted laws – Arkansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington – largely targeted the behavior of publishers and college faculty. They follow the lead of Connecticut and Virginia, which in the last two years passed bills to cut textbook costs. State and university officials have stepped up their efforts since a 2005 report by Congress’ Government Accountability Office found that from 1986 to 2004,college textbook prices increased 186 percent, more than twice the rate of inflation. But over the same period, tuition rose 240 percent, and publishers and college bookstores say that increase is fueling the anger at textbook prices. “The textbook thing is something that people have latched onto, and it’s kind of easier to tackle,” said Charles Schmidt, a NACS spokesman. “It’s been the issue to show ‘we’re doing something to make higher education … more affordable and accessible.” According to the GAO report, many textbooks now come “bundled” with supplemental materials such as workbooks, study guides, CDs or online resources, driving up the price. The jury is still out over whether the bundled materials are necessary. A survey by MassPIRG, the Massachusetts branch of the national Public Interest Research Group, reported that half of 287 surveyed professors said they never used the additional material. Yet a Zogby International survey found that 75 percent of professors nationwide either require or recommend that students buy textbook packages that include the add-ons. Bruce Hildebrand of the Association of American Publishers, which commissioned the Zogby study, said professors request that textbooks be sold with the support packages to help students who may be unprepared for a college workload. Hildebrand added that complaints about bundling focus only on cost and not on the material’s effectiveness. “Is it better to give (students) the lowest-cost book and have them flunk out, or give them the book and the materials that merits their needs and have them get a return on their investment?” Hildebrand said. Critics’ arguments “don’t address quality, they don’t address efficiency, they don’t address pass rates, retention rates, graduation rates,” he said. This year, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington passed bills to encourage un-bundling. Oregon’s new law, for example, requires publishers to give colleges the option of ordering bundled items separately. Oregon’s law also orders publishers to inform faculty how often a book is updated to help them decide whether it is necessary to require students to buy the latest edition, while Maryland’s law sets up a study to look into the factors that drive up textbook prices. Tennessee’s and Washington’s laws require that college bookstores inform professors of book prices before the placing orders. Tennessee also demands that professors turn in their textbook lists in a timely manner; the less time stores have to order books or students have to shop around, the pricier a textbook’s final cost. Arkansas’s new law requires professors to post book lists by Nov. 1 for the spring term and by April 1 for summer and fall. Arkansas state Sen. Sue Madison (D), whose district includes the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville and who proposed several textbook bills, said the new law is designed to avoid horror stories like the economics professor who ordered $5,000 worth of books for a class this fall and only last week switched texts. “Some professors are notorious for this. They pick their book literally just before classes start,” making it difficult for bookstores to find used books and tacking on high shipping charges, Madison said. Another new Arkansas law prohibits professors from receiving incentives from the publishing industry to require a specific text. Two other textbook bills proposed by Madison died after questions were raised about whether the measures encroached on a university’s academic freedom. The bills, which would have required professors to commit to using all bundled materials and prohibited books customized for a specific class or school because they are hard to re-sell, were left unsigned by Gov. Mike Beebe (D) after the state attorney general advised that they could be challenged under the state constitution, which grants autonomy to university boards. University officials in Arizona, Nevada, North Carolina and Wisconsin also are working on initiatives to cut textbook prices. Last month, the Wisconsin Board of Regents ordered its universities to submit plans by December on how they will lower textbook prices after a study found that students pay about $300 for books at some state schools but about $950 at others. The 16 universities of the University of North Carolina system have until January to set up a system to buy back the books of large entry-level courses or set up a potentially costly book rental program. (Written by Pauline Vu, Staff Writer, Stateline.org)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreBecause the average first-year college student today spends over $900 on textbooks, Web sites have sprung up offering price-comparison tools that help save 50 percent or more. Innovative book rental programs are also popping up around some schools. And, to tackle the root of the problem, 27 states have introduced legislation to force a change at the level of colleges and publishing houses.
There, in front of her, was Boris, the man she had fallen in love with and married 60 years earlier. The last time she had seen him was three days after their wedding, when she kissed him goodbye and sent him off to rejoin his Red Army unit.” (Daily Telegraph)AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore“When Anna Kozlov caught sight of the elderly man clambering out of a car in her home village of Borovlyanka in Siberia, she stopped dead in her tracks, convinced her eyes were playing tricks.
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreMaya Angelou’s literary voice, “revered for its poetic command,” is being honored around the world today after she died peacefully in her North Carolina home at the age of 86.Angelou was an American author and poet. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning more than 50 years. Her first memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her traumatic childhood, when she chose not to speak for almost six years. The book brought her international recognition and acclaim.In a statement, her family expressed gratitude that in old age her mind never lost clarity. “She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace.”“Never whine. Whining lets a brute knowthat a victim is in the neighborhood.” -More at MayaAngelou.com(WATCH a short memorial below, or READ the Obituary at CNN) AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreDisplaced Women in North Darfur learn English by Albert González Farran, for UNAMID – February 2014Women in a refugee camp for Internally Displaced Persons in North Darfur receive English classes conducted by volunteer teachers and facilitated by the UN / African Union peacekeepers (UNAMID).Nearly 100 women, mostly adult and mothers, attend these classes three times a week in a school in the camp with materials (exercise books, notebooks, blackboards and chalks) provided by the UNAMID police section.Photo by Albert González Farran for UNAMID – February 2014AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore
Here in New York City, it’s easy to find classes teaching kids to do yoga on pint-sized mats. In many parts of the world, however, children aren’t so lucky, and that’s where Jodi the Yogi and her flexible companion, Downward the Dog, come in — making yoga accessible to kids everywhere. Science has confirmed the many emotional benefits of yoga, such as increased ability to focus, reduced stress, and clarity of mind. The physical health benefits, like improved flexibility, coordination, even digestion, are well known. One of the ways children learn best is through music and the repetition it offers, which is why Jodi’s program pairs original music with all of her yoga movement sequences. Some of them literally emulate sun salutations, others focus on a specific posture (like the airplane song), and others are soothing with a focus upon breathing (like crisscross applesauce). It’ll also make ‘em laugh, because Jodi and Downward were “designed” to be funny characters. Your child will have no idea that in reality, they are boosting their immune system and balancing their energy.Jim Carrey Rolls Out a Children’s Book – And it’s SpiritualIf I were a kid, I would have made my parents play this video on a loop every day, much like I did with the Ronald McDonald and Friends tape that nearly melted our car’s cassette player—and, when they eventually cut me off, I would’ve had the skills needed to self-soothe by using my breath. (WATCH Jodi the Yogi below and learn more at her website) SHARE it Forward (below)…AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreWhen I was six years old, I was obsessed with my Barbie Workout tape. To this day, I believe that it contributed, in large part, to my industrial-strength calf muscles. If this eight-minute yoga video had existed when I was, say, in preschool or kindergarten, I may not have stayed the type of kid who crawled around and disrupted everyone during naptime because I didn’t know how to just chill.
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreA contractor who was renovating an historic home, stumbled onto a piece of personal history — a little boy’s time capsule from 1949 — so he spent his own time to return it to the now-old man.Bill Gilbert was 12-years-old when he fashioned his time capsule in a Mason jar and hid it in new cabinets at the family home in Pueblo, Colorado.He included a neatly typed note describing his family history and their pets — an Irish setter, two kittens and a bird — along with some stamps from his collection, an old coin, and a family photo.FIND GOOD NEWS ALL THE TIME WITH OUR APP—> Download FREE for Android and iOSSixty-six years later, contractor Mark Knecht was renovating the basement of the house and discovered the time capsule. Realizing it might have a great sentimental value, he decided to track down the owner.A quick Internet search led him to a relative of Gilbert’s who passed along the contractor’s phone number to the now 79-year-old man living in Seattle, Washington.Gilbert was excited about the discovery and offered to pay the postage to have the time capsule shipped to him, but Knecht said he’d bring it in person.It turns out, Knecht had grown up just a few miles from where Gilbert now lives and brought the artifacts with him on a trip to visit family.RELATED: Frozen In Time: Chalkboard Drawings From 1917 Discovered During School RemodelingGilbert smiled as he held the contents of his time capsule again, for the first time since he was a 12-year-old boy.“It’s all beginning to come back together,” he told KING News.(WATCH the video below from KING-5) — Photo: KING NewsDon’t Waste Any Time In Passing Along the Idea…AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore
And students aren’t the only ones pitching in to cheer overseas soldiers. More than 200,000 sustainably grown trees from 25 states have been donated to Trees for Troops since was founded in 2005, and FedEx ships them for free.RELATED: Watch Deaf Janitor’s Emotional Reaction to Children’s Birthday SurpriseIn addition to teaching the students how their efforts can positively affect the world, it has also taught them valuable life skills, such as fundraising, time management, and the importance of resource allocation.“They learn how to raise money,” organizer Nigel Manley told WMUR. “They do cold calling. They write all the tags that send special messages to the troops, and we put them on the trees.”“I know how it feels to be away from your family and your loved ones during the holidays. It’s a really tough season,” Sam Petree told WMUR. “These kids are supporting the troops, learning about them and what they do, and with that, it builds respect for everybody.”Visit the Christmas Spirit Foundation to get involved with their tree donation program.(WATCH the news footage below) – Photo used with permission, Trees for Troops on FacebookDeck The Halls Of Social Media By Sharing This Great News StoryAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreBetween studying for tests and finishing some last-minute projects, these fifth-grade students are sending 600 donated Christmas trees to service members who will be on duty around the world for the holiday season.The sweet Yuletide initiative at Bethlehem Elementary School in New Hampshire is their contribution to the Trees for Troops program, currently in its 14th year of operation.For the troops receiving the trees, the gift of Christmas cheer makes a substantial difference. Sam Patree, one of the first Bethlehem students to participate in the Trees for Troops program, has since become a U.S. Marine. 14 years after he helped donate trees to service members, Patree has received his first tree from the program.
The Fish and Wildlife Service decision to remove the grizzly bear from its bearanimalslist of endangered or threatened species prompted a lawsuit. The delisting was then overturned in Federal District Court a year later, which forced Wyoming and Idaho to cancel the hunts planned for lands outside of Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons parks, which would have allowed for up to 23 bears to be killed.RELATED: 15 Giant Tortoises Finally Returned to Their Galapagos Island Home After Saving Their Species With 1,900 BabiesThe disagreement highlights the varying opinions on the health of the grizzly population, which rebounded after a hard-fought recovery from near-extinction last century, when only 136 animals remained in North America—out of the 50,000 that once roamed.Supporters of the latest decision say genetic diversity is at stake, with the bears on the outer fringes of the parks being essential to lasting species heath.Female Grizzly Eating Grass – Terry Tollefsbol / NPS“Not a single (scientific) paper has said they are OK in the long term,” Matthew Bishop of the Western Environmental Law Center told the Star Tribune.In ruling that Yellowstone grizzly bears must remain protected under the Endangered Species Act, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals pointed to the lack of “concrete, enforceable mechanisms” to “ensure long-term genetic health of the Yellowstone grizzly.” The ruling explains that a “commitment to increase population size” is “required to ensure long-term viability.”MORE: Wild Bison Are Returning to England’s Forests For First Time in 6,000 YearsGovernment and ranchers continue to claim that bear numbers are at capacity—but plenty has been written that raises serious doubts that grizzlies have gained that strong of a paw-hold species-wide.SHARE the Bear-y Good News With Friends on Social Media…AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreThe 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of protecting grizzly bears last week restoring their status under the Endangered Species Act in the wake of hunts planned in Idaho and Wyoming.Conservationists and tribes that see the bears as sacred called it a “tremendous victory.” The decision spares the grizzlies from previous plans for controlled hunts in Wyoming and Idaho on land that is within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, which includes 34,000 square miles.The judge said that the decision in 2017 to delist the grizzly bear violated the Endangered Species Act because it was “the result of political pressure by the states rather than having been based on the best scientific and commercial data.”
“She makes people feel loved, special and important. One firefighter told me ‘Kerith has the uncanny ability to make me feel like I am the most important person in the world.’”WOOF Your Excitement For This Story By Sharing On Social Media…AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore This sweet-natured golden retriever has one very important job. As a certified crisis response therapy dog, she’s tasked with helping exhausted firefighters get the kind of comfort only a four-legged friend can provide. That’s especially important work right now, as hundreds across Marin County work extra long shifts to try and contain the Woodward Fire that’s currently blazing in Northern California.Keith has her own sweet Instagram account, @kerith_the_golden_retriever. It’s clear from the fun photos that this fluffy friend brings a lot of joy to others. Trained to be a guide dog, her super excitable nature made her not quite suited to her original task. Kerith went on to become a therapy dog in the emergency ward of a local hospital. But, explains Carmen to CNN, “her favorite people are firefighters.”CHECK OUT: A Big Thank-You to Some ‘Angel’ Neighbors Who Wordlessly Assisted a Helpless Dog In Need AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreMeet Kerith, the two-year-old dog who loves trail running, beach exploring, and helping firefighters feel better. “Kerith is boosting morale during the crew’s morning briefing,” Heidi Carmen, Kerith’s human caretaker, told CNN. “She brings levity and a sense of playfulness even though they know the task of the day will be challenging.”RELATED: When A Loving Brazilian Street Dog Kept Visiting A Car Dealership, They Finally Hired Him as a Salesman
Saying that, the Model 3, currently Tesla’s cheapest car, still starts at $38,000, limiting its appeal to those concerned about cutting emissions but without such levels of disposable income.Speeding the transition from fossil fuels in cars won’t be possible until the lower price brackets of the automotive sector are reached, which in turn can’t be done until battery technology becomes that bit cheaper.RELATED: Tesla’s Record-Breaking Mega Battery, Installed on a Bet, Saves Australia $40 Million in Its First YearWell-loved by owners and driving enthusiasts, Tesla’s success with its range of electric cars recently catapulted it past several milestones, including producing the most sold electric car in history, and one of the world’s most valuable automotive stocks.Musk’s Grand PlanAs an article in Wired describes Musk as one to “never over-promise or under-deliver,” the 2023 deadline for a $25,000 Tesla is possible, but it’s forcing him to reduce costs of battery production everywhere he can find them.Market forces, such as supply and demand and laissez faire trade policy, can quickly drive down the cost of products. Classic examples of these forces in action can be found in our memories from when we were younger, when plasma TVs cost $4,000 and mobile phone calls ran up $2 per minute. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreElon Musk, the enigmatic CEO of Tesla announced at the company’s annual shareholder meeting that they would begin manufacturing their own battery packs in order to drive the cost down sufficiently to be able to sell a Tesla car for no more than $25,000.Tesla SMusk said the car would come to market in about three years following the ramp up in production of its new battery and cell, and that it would be “fully autonomous.”The cost of lithium-ion batteries has already gone down a huge amount in recent years. According to BloombergNEF, the inflation-adjusted average price of battery packs for Tesla cars has dropped from $1,160/kWh in 2010 to $156/kWh in 2019. That means batteries are already around 87% cheaper than they were a decade ago. The same effects have driven the costs of producing electric car batteries down over recent years, as makers invest in research and development to satisfy consumer demands for common complaints like range and charging time.To drive costs down even further, Musk is bringing battery production home from Japan and China, where Tesla’s battery packs and cells are currently made, by opening a lithium and cathode plant in North America.MORE: Tesla Becomes World’s First EV Company to Assemble 1 Million CarsThis will drop travel expenses, lowering the cost of battery production to around a level where a $25,000 car becomes possible.POWER Up The Positivity By Sharing The Good News On Social Media…AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore